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Summer Couponing Update

14 Jul
Last week's CVS haul was amazing!

Last week’s CVS haul was amazing! I spent $6 on all of this, which is equivalent to paying for just one purple bottle of the shampoo shown here. I had $25 in Extra Care Bucks and a variety of manufacturer’s coupons to combine with the CVS weekly promotions and sales.

It’s been such a long time since I did a couponing post. The springtime is so busy at work and at home that I don’t have as much time to devote to couponing as I’d like, so I didn’t have a lot of really great hauls to write about. I got lots of little deals here and there, but nothing really blog-worthy.

However, this summer in just one week’s time or so, I had two huge hauls and when I posted the photo shown here on the left on Facebook last week, I had a lot of “Please tell me how!” type of requests, so I decided that I’d do a post about couponing soon.

On the night that I came home with all of the items shown here, I said to my husband, “And I bet when I go back, I’ll have earned $5 from the Beauty Club too!” At CVS, for every $50 you spend on beauty products you get $5 back. Shampoo, conditioner, hair color, hair supplies, body wash, and all makeup products count as beauty supplies. With three girls and myself living here, we go through a whole lot of all those things. At CVS there’s always great sales and great CVS coupons to stack along with the  manufacturer’s coupons for all these types of items, you can’t go wrong.

Sure enough, when I went to CVS tonight (I realized we were completely out of extra toothbrushes and I’d just tossed mine in the trash) my $5 Beauty Club reward popped out, but so did a $5 Prescription program reward! I walked into the store with $10 to spend for free! (At CVS, for every 10 prescriptions you fill, you earn $5. You can sign up three customers per loyalty card.)

My coupons and Extra Care Bucks rewards in hand, I headed straight to the toothbrush section. After comparing prices and sales, I opted to just go with a basic set of two CVS brand toothbrushes. From there I moved on to the makeup section because when I’d scanned my card at the CVS machine, a coupon for $4 off $12 of makeup popped out. I try to keep things like foundation, mascara, and concealer, on hand because again…a house full of women, two of whom use makeup, we go through quite a bit.

This week's haul was just as good, if not better, than last week's! I had $22 in Extra Care Bucks and several manufacturers coupons to combine with the new week's sales and promotions at CVS!

This week’s haul was just as good, if not better, than last week’s! I had $22 in Extra Care Bucks and several manufacturer’s coupons to combine with the new week’s sales and promotions at CVS!

Imagine my surprise when I came upon the Physicians Formula makeup section and saw those bright yellow CVS signs that said, “Buy any 2 Physicians Formula items and receive $10 in Extra Care Bucks!” I couldn’t believe my luck! I had $4 off already! I grabbed two of the concealers that we use, which are $6.99 each, which gave me the $12 I needed to spend to use the CVS $4 coupon, knowing I’d earned my $10 back.

I moved on to the cereal section. We go through tons of cereal for breakfast and snacks, especially in the summer. I buy a huge variety usually, and we range from the healthier types to the sweeter types, depending on what coupons I have, what’s on sale and what’s left on the pantry shelves.

I had a $1 off 3 Kellogg’s cereals coupon as well as a $1 coupon off two boxes of the Cheerios in the yellow box, which also had a “get $2 Extra Care Bucks Back” sign on display.

In the end I had a total of $22 Extra Care Bucks and spent only $7 out of pocket for my entire haul shown here. That’s equivalent to paying for just one of the concealer sticks!!

I can’t emphasize enough that it’s so important to utilize all aspects of any store’s promotions in addition to manufacturer’s coupons when you shop, no matter what store you’re at. If the store utilizes a customer loyalty program, sign up for it. If they accept their own store coupons, internet coupons, manufacturer’s coupons or any combination of those things, use them to your benefit. Try to shop the sales and promotions even if you don’t currently need a particular item. If it’s something you use, it’s better to get it for free or almost free, ahead of time than to pay full price for it the day you need it. My toothbrushes are a perfect example. I’m usually very good about keeping them on hand from sales and promotions as well as from the dentist and I have enough toothpaste to sink a small ship, but somehow I’d forgotten to keep up with the toothbrushes, so some of my first $5 of Extra Care Bucks went right to a 2-pack of toothbrushes. That’s kind of a waste of Extra Care Bucks, but at least I had them to use and I didn’t have to pay for them anywhere out of pocket.

In my first week’s haul shown above, the majority of my coupons were CVS store coupons coupled with their own store promotions. At CVS you can stack their own store coupons with each other, so for example, if you have a CVS coupon off of Almay makeup for $2 off $10, and you have a CVS coupon for $5 off $15 of makeup, you can use both. If you have manufacturer’s coupons off of Almay you can use those as well. And if you’re lucky there may be a promotion going on such as a Buy One Get One 50% off, or an Extra Care Bucks promotion where you earn back some of what you’ve spent. If you have two manufacturer’s coupons for the same item and you buy two of that item you can use both coupons in addition to your CVS coupons. You can use manufacturer’s coupons off of the half-priced items and even off the free items for a Buy One Get One Free promotion.

No matter what store you go to, be sure to know their coupon policies before you go in. Not all stores are the same. I do the best with my coupons at CVS and Target in my area because they have their own store coupons and promotions to couple with the manufacturer’s coupons.

If you’re new to couponing, or want to be, I’d say start small. Pick just a couple of stores that you frequent most and try it out there before going all over the place trying to hit up every store in your town with your coupons. And remember, anything you save is better than not saving at all, and you’ll get out of it what you put in to it. If you have lots of time to devote, you’ll save more money. If you have a little bit of time to devote to it, you’ll save a little less money, but every penny saved is money in your pocket rather than someone else’s pocket!

Good luck and happy saving!!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Tortellini, Shrimp and Tomato Soup

25 Jun
Sometimes impulse shopping can be good!

Sometimes impulse shopping can be good!

Grocery shopping on an empty stomach…never a good thing. Grocery shopping with a bunch of kids who all have empty stomachs, also not a good thing.

At least, not usually.

At the end of the school year, the kids and I were power walking through Aldi’s, trying to pick up a few things to get us through the next bunch of days, but we were all hungry. There was lots of, “Can we get this? Oh…we haven’t had this in a while, can we get it….Oh Mommy I LOVE these, can we get them,” I’m sure you know how it goes.

I mostly said no to many of the requests unless it was something I knew we actually needed. I try to keep my big grocery trip to a paycheck week only, and I knew that this could quickly get out of hand if I didn’t keep my kids’ requests to a minimum.

However, one of the requests I said yes to was my daughter’s plea for Tortellini. We hadn’t had it in a while, I did need some meal fillers, and it looked good just in the packaging because it was tri-colored pasta.

We threw not one, but two bags in the carriage and moved on. We passed the frozen shrimp section next. I love putting shrimp and pasta together so I threw one bag of that in the carriage also.

I wasn’t sure what I would be doing with the items I was purchasing, but I couldn’t wait to get home and do Google search and see what came up. I didn’t just want to do plain old pasta and sauce. I’d done that in a pinch too many times this school year.

Sure enough, my Google search led me to a great recipe for Tortellini Tomato Soup. I knew I could add shrimp to that without a problem. Funny enough, one of my other daughters had been begging me to find a recipe for Tomato Soup that could equal the sample we’d had earlier this winter at Whole Foods. At $4.99 for a small jar it was a once-only treat for us, and I’d promised to find her a recipe to equal it or surpass it.

The recipe I found, from Two Peas and Their Pod.com, was great. It didn’t take long to prepare and it had easy ingredients. I knew that I could throw the shrimp into the mix without a problem.

The soup looked amazing as it cooked. Cooking time didn't take very long at all and the ingredients were simple.

The soup looked amazing as it cooked. Cooking time didn’t take very long at all and the ingredients were simple.

In my house there are such a wide variety of tastes that it’s hard to please everyone. I knew that this recipe had the potential to work for everyone. I could separate some of the soup before throwing in the pasta and shrimp, for those who wanted just plain tomato soup. Then, anyone who wanted tortellini and shrimp in theirs could have it (me) and anyone who wanted one or the other could do that too. There was definitely something for everyone with this recipe.

I also threw the ingredients into my bread machine, a newly rediscovered toy this year, to make a French Bread to go along with our soup. The recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod showed the soup with a nice crusty bread, and I couldn’t get that image out of my mind when I was prepping my meal.

It turned out to be a fabulously delicious dinner, and everyone was happy. I had enough leftovers of both the plain soup and the loaded soup to have lunch for a couple of days, and the bread was the perfect accompaniment to the meal. The use of Greek nonfat yogurt in the recipe made it ideal for our family’s dietary needs, as we have to stick to a pretty lowfat diet as much as possible. The soup was still just as creamy as it would have been had we used a heavier cream.

I definitely would make this soup again, and I did indeed keep my promise of finding my daughter a soup that’d match the one she’d sampled in Whole Foods, and for a fraction of the cost of one small jar in their store.

I have copied the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod below, just as they have it on their site. I encourage you to pop on over to their site as well, they have lots of great recipes on there. This is not the first time I’ve visited it myself!

I was essentially able to make two soups with one recipe: one loaded with tortellini and shrimp, and one creamy tomato soup.

I was essentially able to make two soups with one recipe: one loaded with tortellini and shrimp, and one creamy tomato soup.

TWO PEAS AND THEIR POD CREAMY TOMATO TORTELLINI SOUP

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (32 oz) container vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 (9 oz) packages fresh or frozen cheese tortellini (we use Buitoni)
Grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, for garnish, optional

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves and crushed red pepper flakes.

2. Add the diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir in fresh basil and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Simmer on low for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Use a hand immersion blender to blend the soup (or carefully transfer soup to a blender to blend and return to the pot). Stir in the Greek yogurt until well combined. Stir in the cheese tortellini and cook on medium-low until tortellini is cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Serve warm.

Fun Friday: Peach Cobbler from GirlsGoGames.com

20 Jun
After a long, hard day, this was a great dessert to come home to, thanks to Liz.

After a long, hard day, this was a great dessert to come home to!

This was a long, tough school year. Lots of hard work, lots of time and schedule commitments. Oftentimes our kids, just like lots of other people’s kids, could be found on some device or other during their downtime, if they happened to have any. They’d make Video Star videos to their favorite songs, play a game or chat with friends.

I was surprised however, when one day my daughter approached me asking if she could make a recipe from GirlsGoGames.com. I didn’t even realize Girls Go Games had recipes. I wasn’t even sure if they were real, doable recipes or not, but when I took a look, they were. The site listed tons and tons of recipe ideas, complete with ingredients and directions.

I immediately said yes, we definitely could do that. We chose a peach cobbler, an easy recipe which used canned peaches, even though I’m sure you could substitute fresh if you had them. It wasn’t quite peach season here yet, so we were going with the canned option.

Having the ingredients here at the house, now that was another story. It turned out that we were low on lots of stuff and and there wasn’t one recipe on that particular day, that we had everything for. We had to put our baking plans on hold temporarily until I picked up a few things we needed.

Sunday turned into Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday, and you know how the days fly by.

“Mom, WHEN can we make my recipe from Girls Go Games????” she asked.

I didn’t really have an answer. There wasn’t time to do it when I was home, at least not for a few more nights until the next weekend arrived.

However, one night while I was out, I got a text from home. The text contained a photo of a bubbling peach cobbler coming right out of the oven at that very moment, courtesy of my daughter and my husband, who helped her make it that night.

“I’m on my way home!” I wrote back, as I thanked him profusely for taking over the cooking project for me.

SUCH a good dad.

I arrived home, just in time to be handed a pretty plate of cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top.

It was amazing. So delicious, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe such a great recipe that was kid-friendly could come from an online kids’ game site. It was definitely a keeper.

My kids work hard and they play hard, and I don’t mind giving them down time ever. I think they need it as much as I do. They read a lot but they’re also on their devices a lot too. It was nice to know, at least this time around, that it wasn’t just mindless time spent staring at a screen. Although I don’t mind them having that kind of down time on occasion too, it was great to see that their screen time turned into a delicious treat for all of us.

I’ve linked over to the recipe twice in this post. If you have a daughter who likes games and likes to cook, you can have them check out the site, and maybe one day you’ll come home to a yummy dessert at your house too!

Hot and bubbly, this recipe was definitely a keeper!

Hot and bubbly, this recipe was definitely a keeper!

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Kielbasa and Cabbage

11 Jun
This meal was tasty and a good way to combine a lot of things I had on hand.

This meal was tasty and a good way to combine a lot of things I had on hand.

You know how it is this time of year. Crazy, crazy, crazy busy. Some weeks I don’t get to plan out a menu of meals for the week. Some weeks I don’t get to do a “big shopping” at the start of the week either, and I’m left to pick up things as I need them on the run, or to make meals with whatever I’ve got on hand.

Today’s meal is a combination of all of those situations. I hadn’t done a menu for the week. I hadn’t done a big shopping. I was hurriedly picking up things as I went along, between runs here there and everywhere.

That’s why I mistakenly grabbed a head of cabbage one week instead of a head of lettuce.

That’s a whole lot of cole slaw, and it’s not really close to St. Patrick’s Day either.

That’s why early one afternoon, I was now Googling “kielbasa and cabbage recipes” one day, as I tried to make a meal with whatever I had left in the house: a single package of turkey kielbasa, a head of cabbage, and a bag of egg noodles.

Our go-to site, Allrecipes. com had a good recipe for Kielbasa and Cabbage that looked doable and not too crazy with things my kids wouldn’t like. It called for simple ingredients and looked quick. It would also allow us to use up half the head of cabbage. I decided we’d try it. The only difference I’d make would be to serve it over the egg noodles we had rather than over white rice.

The recipe was tasty and well-received by my family and I used up half my cabbage and my single package of kielbasa. It also gave us a different kielbasa recipe to try, which was a nice change. There was none left of the main dish and really, only some of the noodles remained.

Below is the recipe as it appears on AllRecipes.com.

KIELBASA AND CABBAGE
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 large onion, cut into rings
  • 1 medium head cabbage, sliced into strips
  • 1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the onion and cabbage until tender.

Place kielbasa over cabbage.

Season with Cajun seasoning, pepper, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*We served ours over cooked egg noodles.*

Fun Friday: Baked Oatmeal: It’s not just for breakfast

6 Jun
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I’d eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

ORIGINALLY POSTED MAY 10, 2013: The other day I came across a great new recipe for baked oatmeal. It was on Skinnytaste.com, a blog I follow on Facebook. I love all kinds of oatmeal from steel cut to overnight to baked.

This recipe also had a fruity combination that I love: strawberry and rhubarb. I didn’t have rhubarb, but I noticed that it had bananas in it, and strawberry and banana is another top favorite combination of mine so I decided to make it without the rhubarb.

Besides the fact that I skipped the rhubarb, the other thing about this recipe is that I made it as an after school snack, not for breakfast! It was so good, and everyone had seconds, everyone loved it and there was very little left over.

I would definitely make this recipe again and if I had rhubarb, I’d throw it in there, but it was also fine without!

Without further ado, here, from the Skinnytaste Blog
For the fruit filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium ripe banana, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup honey
This snack was quick to put together with simple ingredients.

This snack was quick to put together with simple ingredients.

For the Oats:

  • 1 cup uncooked quick oats (use GF oats if Gluten Free)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk (or any milk you desire)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Lightly spray a 9 x 9″ ceramic baking dish with cooking spray; place banana slices on the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.

Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl. Add honey, sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until fruit is well coated and place in prepared baking dish over the bananas.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; stir together.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining honey, milk, egg, and vanilla extract, then add to the oats.

Pour the oat mixture over the strawberries and rhubarb, making sure to distribute the mixture evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the the top.

Bake the oatmeal for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches

4 Jun
This salad was a hit all around!

This salad was a hit all around!

I’m always getting emails with recipes in my inbox, and every so often one of them will catch my eye and I’ll open it up. The other day I happened to notice a recipe from Cooking Light for a Summer Peach and Tomato Salad.

The name of the recipe, the combination of peaches and tomatoes made me click on it and read it. Of course other than peaches and tomatoes, yet not all the kinds of tomatoes they recommended, I didn’t have most of the ingredients for the salad. I didn’t have Sherry Vinegar or red onions or Feta cheese (I don’t even like Feta cheese) or fresh Basil.

Even still, the recipe stayed on my mind. I knew I wanted to try it one day. In the meantime, I still had to come up with my meal planning for this week, and one night we were going to be grilling pork chops. I went downstairs to my pantry to see what I could put as a side dish or two with the chops, and of course, we had next to nothing since we hadn’t done our “big shopping” yet. However, we had a box of pasta, we had honey and olive oil, I knew we had tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese and….fresh summer peaches. I decided to do a variation on the Cooking Light recipe and make my pasta salad for the side dish, but add in some peaches with the other veggies.

“Ewwww….” my daughter said. “That sounds gross together.”

Excellent. A vote of confidence.

Not.

But no worries, I was going to try it anyway. To me, the tomatoes and peaches sounded like they’d go well together, and I looked up a substitution for Sherry Vinegar which said Rice Wine Vinegar which we always have and like to use.

I put on the water to boil and began slicing my peaches. As my pasta cooked and I sliced, that same daughter wandered into the kitchen.

“Can I help?” she asked.

I let her help despite her lack of confidence in this new recipe. As I sliced up the peaches, she threw them into a big bowl and added in the tomatoes, honey, olive oil and vinegar. As I drained the pasta, she peeled and sliced the cucumber and threw that in too. She took a taste.

“This is actually pretty good together!” she said.

I might’ve said, “I told you so,” but I will neither confirm or deny that.

We tossed in the pasta and mixed it all together noting how pretty the reds and yellows looked together. I was wishing I had fresh Basil to add a touch of green, and I debated adding another peach, but decided for this first time out, just to leave it all as is, and see how well this Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches went over with the rest of the family.

Well….I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone loved it and the combination of the peaches with the other fruits, veggies and seasonings was perfect.

My daughter redeemed herself by exclaiming over and over again how great this was together, and I was happy.

I would definitely recommend bringing some summer into your recipes too, adding in peaches and other summer fruits to some of your regular meals. Making this recipe made me even more excited for the end of school and the summertime and for all the delicious summer-only items that are starting to come into season now.

Next time you’re making a salad, think of Cooking Light and their recipe, of my Summer Pasta Salad with Peaches, and see what variation you can come up with!

Even though initially she thought this salad didn't sound appealing at all, she was my biggest helper and biggest fan of the recipe at mealtime!

Even though initially she thought this salad didn’t sound appealing at all, she was my biggest helper and biggest fan of the recipe at mealtime!

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Taco Stuffed Shells from She Knows and Gina

21 May
This Mexican/Italian meal was yummy!

This Mexican/Italian meal was yummy!

ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 26, 2013

I am never afraid to admit it: I love Facebook. I really do. I love connecting with people and I really love re-connecting with people. I also love food. I love seeing all the neat things that people are cooking and eating. Recently, a friend of Don’s from high school, Gina, posted the link to a recipe that he thought looked amazing. He posted it on my wall to see what I thought, and I thought it looked good too!

The recipe was from the site She Knows, and it certainly looked delicious! It was a recipe that combined jumbo Italian pasta shells with a Mexican filling. It sounded like something everyone would like and I actually had all but two of the ingredients to make it, we were only missing the taco seasoning and the cream cheese, both easy enough to pick up. This was also something we could make to fit our dietary restrictions just by using fat free cheese and low fat cream cheese. We also used ground turkey instead of ground beef, a leaner option.

This past weekend Don gave it at try. Using Gina’s recommendations, he also picked up a couple of side items: lettuce, tomato and avocado, which we served on the side. Everyone loved them! Everyone had second helpings also. This is a recipe I’d definitely make again.

Thank you for sharing, Gina!!

Stuffed Mexican shells recipe as seen on the “She Knows” website

Yields 16 stuffed shells

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 16 large pasta shells
  • 1 cup medium-spiced salsa, divided (more if desired) **we used mild, not medium
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef, drain and add in package of taco seasoning. Prepare meat according to taco seasoning packet directions.
  2. Once cooked down, add in cream cheese and stir until it’s completely combined. Set aside.
  3. Add water to a large pot and put on stove to boil. Once boiling, add in 1 tablespoon kosher salt and large pasta shells. Boil till al dente.
  4. Once shells are cooked, drain, lay out in a single row and cool till they are cool enough to touch. Fill each shell with taco/cream cheese mixture. Start off by adding 1 tablespoon per shell and then adding more if there is leftover filling.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Add 1/2 cup salsa to the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch pan and put stuffed shells into the pan so they are snug. Top shells with remaining 1/2 cup salsa.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes until everything is warm.
  8. Take off foil and sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Garlic Roasted Kale

14 May
This made a nice change for us as a side dish with dinner.

This made a nice change for us as a side dish with dinner.

A while back I posted the recipe from our visit to the White House for the 2012 Kid’s State Dinner for Kale Chips. That visit was our first experience with kale chips, but it was not our last. My kids love them and it makes a great after school snack for sure.

Recently, however, I received an email for a variation of kale chips. This recipe was for Garlic Roasted Kale from the site My Recipes.com, and I thought I’d give it a try. The things that attracted me to this recipe were the fact that it included garlic, which I love, and it also included kosher salt, which I enjoy the flavor of as well.

I gave it a try one afternoon and the kids absolutely loved it. I decided to try it again most recently as a side dish for our dinner, instead of our usual broccoli or green beans or salad. As my kids were walking through the kitchen, they each asked what I was making and each time they were so excited when I said kale. I had to just shake my head in amazement. I don’t think I ever imagined I’d get three cheers for kale. Ever.

Below is the recipe from My Recipes.com for Garlic Roasted Kale. The only thing I skipped in this recipe was the vinegar at the end because I did not think the kids would like it, although I was pretty sure I would. The rest I did as was called for.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil$
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped$
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • DIRECTIONS
    1. Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.
    2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425° for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.
    3. Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

 

 

Fun Friday: Raisin Bran Muffins

9 May
Another great muffin recipe!

Another great muffin recipe!

Some people are ever-searching for the next great chocolate chip cookie recipe or the best-ever brownie recipe.

Not me.

I’m all about muffins. I’m always searching for another great muffin recipe to try out.

Each time I find one, I get excited because each and every muffin recipe is completely different from the last.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one,  I’ve really tried to hold off, but today I just had to post a new one.

This was sent to me by my friend Gina, and it was a huge hit here at our house. I liked it because I love raisin bran muffins in general, I love the sweetness of cooked raisins, and because it makes a lot of muffins. One of the reasons I hunt down so many muffin recipes is because I often use them as after school snacks one day and breakfast the next. This recipe made enough that it was perfect for that endeavor.

The recipe originally hails from Pinch of Yum, according to the page I printed out with the recipe on it and the author is listed as Angela Oldenburger. She recommends using some of the batter as needed at first and saving the extra in the fridge to cook in a ramekin one serving at a time, at a later date. If you choose to do that, you would microwave the batter for one minute in the ramekin. I did not do that, I made all of mine at once. They go too quickly here!

I am putting this very easy recipe below. I hope you’ll try it and I hope you’ll pay a visit to Pinch of Yum and see all the deliciousness over there!

RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup of oil

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of buttermilk (sub one cup of milk and one cup of plain yogurt) ***I used 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and enough milk added to that to make 2 cups.***

Fast, easy and yielding a large amount of muffins, this was the perfect recipe for me!

Fast, easy and yielding a large amount of muffins, this was the perfect recipe for me!

4 cups Raisin Bran cereal

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

1 Mix in order and bake in muffin tin at 400 degrees for 12-20 minutes, depending on pan size. Let cool at least ten minutes. Top with butter and honey.

2. Save leftover batter in the refrigerator. For individual servings, scoop into ramekin/mug and microwave for one minute.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Egg and Sausage Casserole

30 Apr
This was a great last minute save for our dinner a few weeks back!

This was a great last minute save for our dinner a few weeks back!

Ever have one of those nights where you’ve counted on leftovers for dinner but yet when you open the fridge, there aren’t any?

Yup. It really stinks when that happens, doesn’t it?

We must’ve had a very hungry week the week prior to our spring break because when we made our menu for the week, knowing we’d be going away for the break week, we tried hard to use what we had and we worked in leftovers on the menu for a particularly busy night where we’d have to eat and run. But, we did an extra good job of using what we had because when I looked, I realized I needed a new plan for dinner that night.

Coincidentally, because I get so many meal ideas and recipes in my inbox each day, one happened to catch my eye and spark my interest for dinner that night. It was an egg and sausage casserole which was supposed to be cooked in the slow cooker, most likely for an Easter brunch type of meal, but it gave me an idea for my last minute Wednesday-before-the-chorus- concert-and-dance-class night type of meal instead.

I began looking on the internet and Pinterest for egg casserole ideas. I wanted to make a good-sized one so that I could also use it for the remaining week’s breakfasts and lunches too. I am a big fan of the “Cook Once, Eat Twice” philosophy.

The recipe I came up with was well-received by my family and I even served it with an English Muffin bread, which I made in the bread maker while I was gone for the afternoon. I did not need to slow cook my casserole, so I baked it in the oven instead. It was a perfect meal.

Here is the recipe I somewhat created, based on all the recipes I saw that day.

EGG AND SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

12 package cooked sausage (I used a combination of cut up low fat turkey sausage links (8) and what I had left of my Jimmy Dean low fat Turkey sausage crumbles.)

14 eggs beaten

1/2 cup milk

1 small onion, chopped

Several small potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces (I used six potatoes, I could’ve done with five. Six was just a bit much, even for a large casserole.)

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we use low fat)

DIRECTIONS

I precooked my potatoes and my onions and sausage in olive oil on the stove top first. I put them into two cast iron skillets since I had such a large amount, and cooked them before putting them in the bottom of my casserole dish. I poured my eggs on top of them once in the dish, and topped with the shredded cheese.

I baked my casserole for one hour at 350 degrees. Be sure to check it by putting a knife through. The casserole looks done about halfway before it is done. Halfway through, I covered it with foil because the top was golden brown but the inside was still loose.

 

 

 

 

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